Seventeen year old Jessica Korda finished second in last week’s LPGA Qualifying Tournament and gained a waiver from the LPGA permitting her to play before she turns 18. The catch: any money she makes before she turns 18 won’t count as “official” money. That shouldn’t make much of a difference, though. Korda turns 18 on Feb. 27—right about the same time that the LPGA kicks off its season.
The final word on the 2011 LPGA schedule won’t come until January.
While Korda got her waiver, another young gun, 15-year-old Alexis Thompson didn’t challenge the age rule. Instead, she asked for and received additional chances at sponsor exemptions. My guess is that she’s hoping to win one of those tournaments and avoid Q School altogether. If she does, I wonder how the LPGA would deny her.
I don’t think any good can come from encouraging child stars. While the young golf pros likely are better grounded than, say, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and River Phoenix, they’re still kids, lacking any meaningful maturity. As a high school teacher, I can tell you that even the most mature high school senior really doesn’t have a clue.
Unless there’s some sort of family hardship, they should go play in the NCAA. They’ll get scholarships, have a few more years of relatively care-free adolescence, get an education and whet their competitive skills. And they’ll gain perspective.